Are Drifters fun?

ZekZek Join Date: 2002-11-10 Member: 7962Posts: 4,618Members, NS1 Playtester, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow
edited February 2012 in NS2 General Discussion
Having played more of the alien commander lately, I have to say that I really don't enjoy it and the sole reason is Drifters. The marine comm was long ago freed from his worker units - he just drops things anywhere and players build them for him. MACs are just helpers now to make him a little more independent. The alien comm, on the other hand, still has to use a worker to build every single structure... And on top of that, it's a worker that sacrifices itself so he has to go grab a new one every single time. That's not fair no matter how you look at it. To be blunt, worker units in NS2 just don't handle very well and having to manage this many of them is tedious.

In my opinion, Drifters should be used for building RTs and Hives and occasional support stuff like Flare. Structures and upgrade chambers should be spawned from their corresponding hive like pustules, anywhere where there's connected infestation, and build slowly on their own. The alien comm should spend less time moving Drifters around and more time managing his chambers - controlling whips, deploying umbra/cloak, etc.

Maybe it's just me... Do you guys actually find that ordering these things around contributes positively to the alien comm's experience?
Post edited by Unknown User on
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Comments

  • SkieSkie Skulk Progenitor Join Date: 2003-10-18 Member: 21766Posts: 656Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow
    It makes sense for the buildings for aliens to somehow organic, living. Works the same way in SC2. But moving the drifers around is a very small thing to do as an alien comm. It's only annoying when they sometimes choose strange routes and marines intercept them.

    Although I call the marines out on their buildings which appear out of thin air with blue magic sparkles.

    At the moment alien commander doesn't need to (and shouldn't) sit in a hive at all times, but help in doing attacks (suicide take-down extractors for example) or gorging around.
  • sumguy720sumguy720 Join Date: 2011-02-09 Member: 81101Posts: 80Members
    I often find that between placing infestation, micro managing my builder units, and moving my whips, I have no time to command my troops. I hardly have time to do all three of the things I actually CAN do. Especially when marines are constantly pushing the infestation back. Finding my builders is also a hassle, scrolling to my hive, selecting a builder and then scrolling back to where I want to build sucks seconds out of my command time. I want to just grow buildings.
  • twilitebluetwiliteblue bug stalker Join Date: 2003-02-04 Member: 13116Posts: 1,804Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue
    edited February 2012
    I'm find commanding Whips, Drifters, Crags overall to be very enjoyable. The commanding experience in NS2 is as close as it gets to a fully fledged Real Time Strategy game, in a shooting game. It's very satisfying to watch your teammates slaughter a group of Marines, after a well timed Flare, Cloak or Umbra.

    On the other hand, having to depend on Drifters for structures can be frustrating. Drifters are too fragile, and cost too much Hive energy. It's not fun to have the team's timing completely disrupted by one Marine when he snipes off a Drifter or two. This is especially when Marines can drop their structures almost anywhere for free (although they don't build themselves).

    I propose a new ability for the Kharaa Commander, to purchase more Hive energy with Team Resources. This way, Marines can hurt Kharaa economy by sniping Drifters, but not significantly delay vital tech.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • 1dominator11dominator1 Join Date: 2010-11-19 Member: 75011Posts: 1,140Members
    I havent played much as alien comm, but what I did play I did not particularly care for. Having to micro the infestation and the drifters was a big part of that. How about the kharaa comm can just plop his buildings down anywhere on connected infestation and they sort of sprout up from the infestation and build? Or maybe make an ai drifter spawn at the nearest hive and go to where you placed building and build it, with no input from comm aside from placing the building.
  • WheeeeWheeee Join Date: 2003-02-18 Member: 13713Posts: 4,160Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    i have a decided hatred for them. they get stuck on everything. i would MUCH prefer it if they only built hives and harvesters, and the other chambers evolved out of cysts.
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  • PsiWarpPsiWarp Gifted Gorge Richmond, B.C., Canada Join Date: 2010-08-28 Member: 73810Posts: 1,566Members
    edited February 2012
    I see the Drifter as an energy sink to compete with Cyst, which IMO really limits how fast infestation can be spread and how many buildings can be created at a time.

    I wouldn't mind if Kharaa buildings could be built anywhere in range of connected Cysts/Hives, since it makes the Cyst network all the more important. Severing Cysts would equal to severing Alien Commander control over an infested area (albeit not completely).

    Although, if the Drifter has more support abilities and is less fragile, I might reconsider.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
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  • kingmobkingmob Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 3650Posts: 705Members, Constellation
    I don't see it as an energy sink. More of a time sync.
    You shouldn't have to make drifters...then use them.
    They should always maintain 2 per hive.
  • elodeaelodea Editlodea Join Date: 2009-06-20 Member: 67877Posts: 1,767Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    One of the things their really quite fun for is sequential cloak flaring with a group of like 10 drifters. Can blind the marines for quite a while.. lol
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  • antacidantacid Join Date: 2007-08-07 Member: 61821Posts: 483Members, NS2 Playtester
    edited February 2012
    To be honest I much much preferred the NS1 method of alien building, where each gorge had to tend to his own node and build mini bases to support the greater good. I understand the higher skill roof, but still it was such an integral part of the gorge experience.


    However I am against the entire concept of an alien commander as I think it undermines the key unique factor that made the alien vs marine so great.
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  • ArkantiArkanti pub baddie Join Date: 2011-07-22 Member: 111781Posts: 694Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited February 2012
    QUOTE (Zek @ Feb 5 2012, 03:23 PM) »
    Having played more of the alien commander lately, I have to say that I really don't enjoy it and the sole reason is Drifters. The marine comm was long ago freed from his worker units - he just drops things anywhere and players build them for him. MACs are just helpers now to make him a little more independent. The alien comm, on the other hand, still has to use a worker to build every single structure... And on top of that, it's a worker that sacrifices itself so he has to go grab a new one every single time. That's not fair no matter how you look at it. To be blunt, worker units in NS2 just don't handle very well and having to manage this many of them is tedious.


    You say the marine com was freed from having to use worker units to build, I say marines were shackled into having to manually build structures themselves. Alien structures build themselves after the drifter is placed, that is the trade off. Unit pathing has been massively improved in the past and will continue to be improved until release. Without drifters there's even less for the alien commander to do and that's the opposite of what the position needs right now. I like the dynamic that drifters can be spotted and intercepted on the way to their destination.


    QUOTE (Zek @ Feb 5 2012, 03:23 PM) »
    In my opinion, Drifters should be used for building RTs and Hives and occasional support stuff like Flare. Structures and upgrade chambers should be spawned from their corresponding hive like pustules, anywhere where there's connected infestation, and build slowly on their own. The alien comm should spend less time moving Drifters around and more time managing his chambers - controlling whips, deploying umbra/cloak, etc.


    That said I quite like the idea of crags and whips at the least being built out of cysts, but it poses an issue as to what then happens to the infestation, and would require a major rebalance on cyst/drifter energy costs.


    QUOTE (antacid @ Feb 5 2012, 07:45 PM) »
    However I am against the entire concept of an alien commander as I think it undermines the key unique factor that made the alien vs marine so great.


    Traded one unique overall feature perhaps, but the way the alien commander interacts with the map, structures and their players still retains a massive difference in playstyle.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
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  • PsiWarpPsiWarp Gifted Gorge Richmond, B.C., Canada Join Date: 2010-08-28 Member: 73810Posts: 1,566Members
    Ah well, the Khamm is here to stay :/

    But yeah, I really like the idea of stuff just growing out of ithe infestation; it makes playing Khamm feel like being the infestation and structures themselves. Without Drifters' need to float to building spots, you could easily help Gorges by throwing down a Crag or 2 for their Hydras, where they previously threw up some mini-cysts...

    I'd almost want to switch the building methods of Marines and Kharaa. Almost.
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  • HarimauHarimau Join Date: 2007-12-24 Member: 63250Posts: 3,883Members
    QUOTE (Zek @ Feb 5 2012, 01:23 PM) »
    In my opinion, Drifters should be used for building RTs and Hives and occasional support stuff like Flare. Structures and upgrade chambers should be spawned from their corresponding hive like pustules, anywhere where there's connected infestation, and build slowly on their own. The alien comm should spend less time moving Drifters around and more time managing his chambers - controlling whips, deploying umbra/cloak, etc.

    +1
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  • croncron Join Date: 2010-06-21 Member: 72122Posts: 142Members
    I'm with the OP here, commanding is much more fun on the marine side for me because of exactly this.
    Spreading the infestation is a great mechanic and adds a lot to the alien commander experience but the drifters are just a downer for me. It is possible that this is because I suck at navigating my way around the map but I have that problem as well with the marine commander but there I do it for the team when they need assistance and not for an NPC unit with which I don't interact.
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  • AlignAlign Remain Calm Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Posts: 8,205Forum Moderators, Constellation mod
    edited February 2012
    I really love the idea of cysts growing into full buildings, especially if they keep their infestation spread. Anything that gives an excuse to make the map more infested sounds good to me.
    Not only would this mean there's more infestation total, but you'd have to decide if you want to be efficient and use cysts that are as distant as possible (in order to spread infestation faster) for your upgrade chambers or waste infestation potential by placing some cysts in a safe area near the hive. Or, most likely, something in between.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • RuntehRunteh Join Date: 2010-06-26 Member: 72163Posts: 1,883Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    I don't like the new 'drifter tails' either, just looks wrong somehow, and the drifters themselves need a rework - the model just does not do it for me.
  • WorthyRivalWorthyRival Black Armor Division Join Date: 2006-11-07 Member: 58470Posts: 557Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Gold, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow
    +1

    Drifters are not fun at all.

    Drifters break the fluid game play of commanding buy adding a clunky layer to aliens command interface.
    DEV'S ask yourselves, would the marine commander be as fluid to play if you had to build a mac every time you wanted to place a building?

    No the marine commander interface would become slow as they would be micro managing macs everywhere, and not dropping med packs, ammo and giving commands and intel to marines.

    Drifters also break the organic feeling that the aliens are a bacterial infestation. Chambers should grow out of the infestation, cysts or marines that have died on infestation.

    I think the drifters place in the game is for Hives, Res towers and flares only.

    With crags, shades +1 more chamber to micro + microing the numerous abilities tied to these chambers. Whips to micro, cysts, resource towers, hives to build. while giving intel to team mates.
    Drifters make the alien command interface sloppy and slow.
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  • DaphistoDaphisto Hive Janitor Join Date: 2002-11-16 Member: 8917Posts: 565Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    +1 for alien structures growing out of cysts
  • ZekZek Join Date: 2002-11-10 Member: 7962Posts: 4,618Members, NS1 Playtester, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow
    edited February 2012
    I hadn't thought of transforming pustules into other structures, that's an interesting idea too. It does potentially create the situation where you're not able to spend all your team resources because of the limit on hive energy though, just like with Drifters currently.

    Maybe if the Hive had an ability to spend team resources to generate additional energy?
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • spacedanielspacedaniel Join Date: 2009-11-11 Member: 69348Posts: 86Members
    I'd like to just be able to build any alien base-structures on any INFESTED surface, and give the gorges the job of placing the infestation. Drifters are a nice idea but it could be a case of "kill your darling"... not entirely sure.
  • spacedanielspacedaniel Join Date: 2009-11-11 Member: 69348Posts: 86Members
    And while we're t it - shouldn't the power grid work the same way? As a net extending from the CC. I thought that was the idea but I can't really see that's the way it's working.
  • internetexplorerinternetexplorer Join Date: 2011-10-13 Member: 127255Posts: 1,369Members
    edited February 2012
    I think drifters are a great way of explaining the asymmetric gameplay NS is known for.

    When marines build, what do they do? The commander lays down an unbuilt structure, and then players/MACs build it. They are vulnerable while doing this.

    When the aliens build, the commander sends out a drifter and the players protect it. The players are less vulnerable while they do this, but it is balanced against the marines' situation because the drifter is vulnerable too. It's like any other 'alien swarm' style - none of us is as cruel as all of us etc.

    I find drifters to be fine from that perspective, but managing them as a commander is pretty horrendous. However, that's mostly due to pathing/infestation-spread issues in maps, and not the units themselves. I think it's something that can be fixed very easily, and then players will learn to fight/defend drifters and it will add to the game's flow a lot.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • WispWisp Join Date: 2007-12-18 Member: 63211Posts: 130Members, Reinforced - Diamond
    The Drifter mechanic works great for the Zerg in Starcraft, so I don't see why it can't work in NS2. The developers just need to make the interface more fluid and the Drifter's more responsive. Then it will be fun.
  • WheeeeWheeee Join Date: 2003-02-18 Member: 13713Posts: 4,160Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (internetexplorer @ Feb 5 2012, 01:49 PM) »
    I think drifters are a great way of explaining the asymmetric gameplay NS is known for.

    When marines build, what do they do? The commander lays down an unbuilt structure, and then players/MACs build it. They are vulnerable while doing this.

    When the aliens build, the commander sends out a drifter and the players protect it. The players are less vulnerable while they do this, but it is balanced against the marines' situation because the drifter is vulnerable too. It's like any other 'alien swarm' style - none of us is as cruel as all of us etc.

    I find drifters to be fine from that perspective, but managing them as a commander is pretty horrendous. However, that's mostly due to pathing/infestation-spread issues in maps, and not the units themselves. I think it's something that can be fixed very easily, and then players will learn to fight/defend drifters and it will add to the game's flow a lot.


    i thought the community agreed that escort missions weren't fun, and that was at least partially why the role of the mac was reduced. i don't really want to repeat that if possible.
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  • ArkantiArkanti pub baddie Join Date: 2011-07-22 Member: 111781Posts: 694Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (Wheeee @ Feb 6 2012, 04:32 AM) »
    i thought the community agreed that escort missions weren't fun, and that was at least partially why the role of the mac was reduced. i don't really want to repeat that if possible.


    Well we've just disagreed with you, you can't just tell us our opinions are actually different than what we've stated and expect us to change our stance. Do you think Gorge's should be able to hold their own in a fight too and require no protection?
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  • AlignAlign Remain Calm Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Posts: 8,205Forum Moderators, Constellation mod
    Well yes, since they're no longer game-critical. That's being discussed in a different thread already though.
    Also not at all the same since the Gorge is player-controlled and not a dumb bot.
  • IronHorseIronHorse CDT Technical Support & QA Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71669Posts: 6,596Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester, Subnautica PT Lead, Community Dev Team, Pistachionauts admin
    arkanti hes not saying that.
    he's saying that the community has screamed plenty in the past regarding having to baby sit and protect MACs which used to be responsible for building every single thing. it was a terrible design and is now gone. if you disagree with this change after actually playing those old alpha versions, well, then thats your opinion, yeah.. but the majority of complaints were against this idea and the devs changed it.

    +1 to OP and idea of structures coming out of cysts /infestation. gorges should still be able to speed up build time or contribute somehow tho.

    to those worried the alien comm doesn't have a lot to do: don't worry pheromones are on the way.




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  • internetexplorerinternetexplorer Join Date: 2011-10-13 Member: 127255Posts: 1,369Members
    MACs and drifters are both player-controlled (by the commander). The way you do the 'escort mission' part of using them is very open to micromanagement.
    From playing NS1 for so long, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having gorges build res towers. I'm sure there are reasons (valid or not) for designing NS2 this way, but I haven't heard them so I can't really speak for that..
  • FloodinatorFloodinator [HBZ] Member Join Date: 2005-02-22 Member: 42087Posts: 1,301Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    My problem with drifter is, that they take ages to deploy and somehow players get attracted by a drifter and blocks his deployment, the result is, if you don't babysit the drifters all the time they die in 0,1s or don't deploy, resulting in a (sometimes) timeloss.

    You can throw the aliens economy back by 50s per drifter you kill, because it needs 50s for the hive to get energy. The drifter is too slow, too weak and too expenisive.
    Aliens can't spend the ress as fast as they get ress, because to production time for drifter is longer than 2 RT harvesting 10Res.
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  • AlignAlign Remain Calm Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 5216Posts: 8,205Forum Moderators, Constellation mod
    edited February 2012
    QUOTE (ironhorse @ Feb 5 2012, 09:15 PM) »
    +1 to OP and idea of structures coming out of cysts /infestation. gorges should still be able to speed up build time or contribute somehow tho.

    to those worried the alien comm doesn't have a lot to do: don't worry pheromones are on the way.

    Can't gorges already +use buildings to make them build faster like marines do? Though there's no indication this happens other than the % going up faster. I've suggested that heal-spray serve this purpose instead, since a lot of people seem to intuitively try that, but nothing came of it...
    I don't think pheromones will do a whole lot for making the kham busier though. Dropping pheromones/an order when the situation calls for it shouldn't take more than a few clicks, and since they last a while they mostly won't need manual updating.
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  • WheeeeWheeee Join Date: 2003-02-18 Member: 13713Posts: 4,160Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (Align @ Feb 5 2012, 04:45 PM) »
    Can't gorges already +use buildings to make them build faster like marines do? Though there's no indication this happens other than the % going up faster. I've suggested that heal-spray serve this purpose instead, since a lot of people seem to intuitively try that, but nothing came of it...
    I don't think pheromones will do a whole lot for making the kham busier though. Dropping pheromones/an order when the situation calls for it shouldn't take more than a few clicks, and since they last a while they mostly won't need manual updating.


    agreed with the heal spray idea. when someone does that or is told that it works the first time, their first reaction should be "omg, that's pretty cool" not "wtf? i never would have guessed that". i know it says that you can do it in the tooltips sometimes but i have a hard time paying attention to those and i'm sure many others do too.
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